Hotels Reap Benefit From Nearby Inauguration Festivities|
By I-Wei Chang
Capital News Service
Friday, Jan. 14, 2005
WASHINGTON - President Bush's second inauguration is not expected
to create the skyrocketing demand for hotel rooms of his first
swearing-in four years ago, but Maryland hotels said they still expect
better-than-normal business this week.
That is particularly welcome at what is traditionally a slow month
for area hotels.
Hotels are "seeing more business, more rooms being reserved and
more activities planned," said Matthew Neitzey, executive director of
the Conference and Visitors Bureau of Prince George's County.
"Hotels and restaurants do much better (in inaugural years) than
the other three years," Neitzey said. "We wish it happened more
Unlike four years ago, however, when the White House went from
Democratic to Republican hands, a reservations worker said there were
still rooms available for Bush's second inauguration.
"Four years ago, with a new administration coming in, you couldn't
get a room," said Nina Quesinberry, reservations manager at Capitol
Reservations. "But being a second-term president, everyone is pretty
much in place.
"Capitol Hill and up-scale hotels in Washington are sold out, but
there are still hotels in the city that have rooms and in the
surrounding areas," she said.
In neighboring areas like Maryland, hotels stand to benefit.
"There's a definite difference in occupancy in the inauguration
month," said Kelly Groff, executive director of the Conference and
Visitors Bureau of Montgomery County.
Downtown Bethesda hotels benefit the most because the area borders
the District, Groff said.
At the Holiday Inn in Chevy Chase, for example, reservations for
rooms have "filled to capacity and booked solid a month ago," said
Cornel Mohoreanu, the general manager. He called his hotel the
"Washington hotel with a Maryland address."
"Sometimes they want to stay away from crowds and the traffic of
D.C.," Mohoreanu said.
Mary Jo McCulloch, president of Maryland Hotel and Lodging
Association, said the presidential festivities "will bring in
additional room nights before and during the inauguration." She said
that out-of-towners in the past have taken advantage of Metro, staying
in the suburbs but using the subway to get to events in the city.
Many hotels in Montgomery and Prince George's counties are located
near Metro stations and offer free shuttle services to the subway.
That is the case for the Greenbelt Marriott, but officials there
were still looking last week to bring in more business.
"We haven't drawn as many (visitors) as we had hoped," said Jeff
Plamondon, general manager of the Greenbelt Marriott.
While hotel rooms are sold out for the beginning of this week,
Thursday and Friday reservations have only reached 80-percent
occupancy, he said Wednesday. But Plamondon remained optimistic.
"We are still a week out," he said. "There may be a flurry between
now and next Thursday."
2005 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of
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